AT T Picturephone Ford Edsel AT T s Picturephone is another example of a good albeit failed idea that technology historian Reinhold Bauer likes to use Or more precisely an idea that initially failed because today video telephony has become as commonplace as television thanks to Skype Facetime Zoom and the like The dream of being able to look into each other s eyes while talking on the phone has been an essential feature even of early science fi ction movies American multinational conglomerate AT T turns it into a reality in 1964 by launching the Picturephone Both the professional world and the general public are thrilled because this novelty promises to spare its users extensive travel when all they d like to do is talk to someone face to face But that s not all AT T is already thinking about the transmission of class room content advertisements stock market prices or weather reports Even fl ights are supposed to be bookable using the wonder box at some point in time But this plan never materializes albeit not because of the technology that works amazingly well The service is just too expensive In the Picturephone booths AT T installs in 1964 the costs for the fi rst three minutes of a call run up to a horrendous 27 U S dollars Only 71 connections are made in the fi rst six months In 1970 after a year of having been totally ignored by potential clients the booths are dismantled An attempt to sell private subscriptions fails due to the costs as well Only a scattered group of techies is willing to accept a monthly charge of 160 U S dollars equating to nearly 1 000 dollars in terms of today s purchasing power Even when the price is reduced by 50 percent the clientele hardly grows In 1973 AT T pulls the Picturephone s plug once and for all In 1957 with Edsel Ford Motor Company demonstrates how not to launch a product To poise itself against GM s multi brand market presence Ford plans to establish Edsel as a sub brand for more discriminating uptown demands The company cost what it may invests ten years of development in Edsel and the outcome is an absolutely average automobile Its potential clientele having been sounded out with in depth interviews and psychological tests in an unparalleled pre launch market research campaign is disappointed Where s the technological breakthrough that has been so highly touted The greatest innovations on Never before a car like it are a hood with an electric opening mechanism and self adjusting brakes During a CBS show dedicated to Edsel Bing Crosby Frank Sinatra and Louis Armstrong sing the praises of a brilliant future but cannot prevent the car s demise either Besides exaggerated expectations inspired among potential customers the worldwide recession puts an end to the marketing ploy in 1958 The car s failed design especially the radiator grille reminding many straightlaced Americans of female private parts does the rest The model named after Henry Ford s son Edsel who died of stomach cancer in 1943 is regarded as the greatest automobile fl op ever Now look at this Disappointment included AT T takes its fi rst tentative steps in the fi eld of video telephony However with a resolution of 50 lines the parties to the conversation are only able to see blurred images of each other In 1927 units of Edsel are produced by Ford from September 1957 to November 1959 before the painful story is over As many as 500 000 were originally planned per year This is the amount of money Ford loses with Edsel the equivalent of 2 4 billion U S dollars today 110 847 250 mn 33 In motion

Vorschau Schaeffler tomorrow 02-2020 EN Seite 33
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